Gard Report Highlights Rising Mental Health Issues Among Seafarers

A recent report by Gard sheds light on the growing mental health challenges faced by seafarers, with an increase in mental illness cases over the past five years. Suicide has been identified as a significant cause of seafarer fatalities, indicating a pressing need for improved mental health support in the maritime industry. Despite some progress, there is still much work to be done.
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A recent report by Norwegian marine insurers Gard has brought attention to the challenges faced by seafarers, particularly in relation to mental health issues. The Crew Claims Report 2024 released by Gard emphasizes the importance of seafarers’ health and safety, outlining common crew-related claims from 2019 to 2023, including illnesses, injuries, and fatalities.

One concerning finding in the report is the increase in mental illness cases among seafarers over the past five years, with an average of 47 mental health disorders reported annually, a trend that escalated during the Covid-19 pandemic. Suicide was identified as a significant cause of seafarer fatalities, accounting for 11% of registered crew deaths since 2019, although Gard suggests that the actual number of crew suicides may be higher due to underreporting.

Despite efforts to address these issues, Gard notes that the maritime industry still has a long way to go in improving the well-being of seafarers. The report highlights the operational hazards faced by seafarers globally and points to factors such as contract lengths and connectivity with home as contributing to mental health challenges. While there has been a decline in overall illness claims, excluding Covid-related cases, Gard cautions that it is too early to determine if this trend will continue in the long term.

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